Anaheim Ballet’s founder talks magic of ‘Nutcracker’

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Courtesy of Anaheim Ballet

Stages throughout Southern California are more than likely presenting the family holiday favorite “Nutcracker” in one form or another this holiday season. But Anaheim Ballet’s (AB) production is Orange County’s longtime gem — celebrating its 33rd year of telling the heartwarming tale of Clara and her doll — and families all over have made it a tradition of attending the spectacle. 

This Sunday, Dec. 22, Anaheim Ballet will perform the classic at City National Grove of Anaheim, featuring staging and choreography by Sarma Lapenieks Rosenberg, AB’s acclaimed Artistic Director. Founder and Executive Director Larry Rosenberg shares the magic of “The Nutcracker” and Anaheim Ballet. 

Who are the main dancers in AB’s “The Nutcracker”?

Elan Alekzander will perform Sugar Plum Fairy. She is Anaheim Ballet-homegrown, a YAGP medalist. She has guested for various ballet companies, and performed for television and music videos. Roman Frey appears as the Sugar Plum’s Italian Cavalier and has been with Anaheim Ballet for about five years, formerly with Texas Ballet Theater and Queensland Ballet.

What makes AB’s “The Nutcracker” unique among the other productions of the classic ballet? 

“More Than Dance…” is Anaheim Ballet’s slogan, and indeed we feel the Nutcracker ballet is much more than the story of Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker. Sarma Lapenieks Rosenberg, our artistic director, has staged the production as a tale of good and evil, courage and trials. 

What will the audience experience in terms of the stage setting and costumes? 

The staging is true to Peter Tchaikovsky’s notated score…grandfather’s dance, flurries of snow, cake flowers coming to life, and a bittersweet look back while dancing into the future. The Victorian period costumes, romantic and classical tutus literally fill the stage.

When was the Anaheim Ballet founded?

My wife and I founded the non-profit organization in 1982 in South Orange County and were asked to relocate the organization to Anaheim in 1997 as the resident ballet company for the city.

In your experience, what separates Anaheim Ballet from all other organizations?  

I don’t really look at what separates us. I just know that more than anything else we want to inspire and uplift both dancers and audiences. We also enrich the community with our varied outreach programs, and we’ve been thrilled to reach the global community (over 60 million views) with our online video series “Anaheim Ballet: More Than Dance…”

Anything else you would like to add?

I believe our performances entertain everyone: athleticism, beauty and a story with a message. What else could you ask for?

For more info, visit anaheimballet.org

Courtesy of Anaheim Ballet
Courtesy of Anaheim Ballet

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